Here are stories about eight young people with problems that must be solved. Do they succeed or fail?
“Petey, I’ve got to find a wild animal,” he said. “The guys might not let me stay in the club if I don’t.”
Tears began showing in Joey’s eyes. I really felt sorry for the little guy. I sighed and said the first dumb thing that came to my mind. “A spider is a wild animal. The next one Elf catches in our backroom we’ll just put it in a jar.”
Joey frowned. “No. Elf smashes them up too badly.”
I nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. How about an ant? Ants come into the house and Elf just stares at them. They would be easy to catch.”
Joey shook his head. “No. Mike and Murray don’t like ants. Neither does David.”
“Worms? How about flies, Joey?”
I sighed. “Look, Joey, let me think about this until tomorrow. Okay?”
* * * *
That was it, until real early in the next morning.
It started as a soft noise coming from the kitchen. I rolled over in bed and pretended I didn’t hear anything. “Go away,” I mumbled. “Let me sleep.”
Of course, it didn’t happen that way.
More noise. Somebody was running.
A cat meowed.
“What have you got there?” asked a voice.
I turned on a light and looked at my watch…three in the morning.
I put on my jeans and headed for the kitchen. Joey was standing in the dark holding a shining flashlight in his right hand.
“Joey, what are you doing?” I asked in between a big yawn.
He whispered, “I couldn’t sleep. So, I decided to play with Elf. I caught him staring at a mouse. It ran behind the stove when it saw me. Petey, I’ve got to catch him.”
For a second, I wondered why Elf hadn’t caught the mouse. Then I remembered Elf was a house cat that had never seen a mouse until this morning. He wouldn’t know about catching them.
I looked at the stove. “Are you sure this is where the mouse is hiding?” I whispered to Joey.
“Okay. Wait here.”
I quietly zoomed back to my room. A year ago, I had goldfish. Now, all I had was their plastic bowl. It would be a nice home for a mouse.
Back in the kitchen, I handed the bowl to Joey and took his flashlight. “Now, listen carefully,” I said. “Grab Elf and hang on to him. When I pull the stove away from the wall, you move fast. Maybe you and Elf will scare the mouse so badly it can’t move. If that happens, catch him in the goldfish bowl.
I moved the stove and pointed the flashlight.
“I got him! I got the mouse!